The Fresh Loaf

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Durum WW Sourdough Pretzel Rolls

Isand66's picture

Durum WW Sourdough Pretzel Rolls


  I call these “Italian” style pretzel rolls.  These are made with a 2 build durum starter and with over 50% total fresh milled durum.  I also used some fresh milled whole wheat and just a little bit of KAF bread flour to add a little gluten strength but you could probably leave it out and sub more durum or whole wheat.

The durum and whole wheat flour was sifted twice and milled twice with my Mockmill 200.

I used pie cutters to make the cute scoring on these and topped them with pretzel salt, everything bagel seasoning and grated fresh sharp Vermont Cheddar.

Each roll was scaled to 125-135 grams.

Caution:  When using the Lye make sure you wear gloves, long sleeves and protective eye gear. Also, never add Lye to hot water or it will bubble over and probably burn you.

Main Dough Ingredients


For Lye Bath (3.5% Solution

2 Liters (1836 grams) of Cold water

70 grams Sodium Hydroxide Crystals

Levain Build 1

Add your seed starter  to the indicated amount of flour and water and mix until incorporated.  Cover and let sit in a nice warm place around 80 degrees or if you have a proofer like I do use that.  It should take about 4 hours to almost double.  Proceed to add the ingredients for the second build, mix well and let proof until doubled. Use immediately or refrigerate for a few days until ready to mix the main dough.

Procedure (I have an Ankarsrum so I add the dry ingredients to the wet and it takes longer to mix so adjust for your brand of mixer accordingly).

Add the diastatic malt powder to the water and stir.  Add 3/4 of the water to your mixing bowl and add the starter and mix for a minute.  Next slowly add the flour until you get a shaggy mess.  Cover the mixing bowl with a tea towel and let rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour so the flour can absorb the water.

Next add the salt and the remainder of the water as needed and mix for 14-20 minutes on medium low until you have a nice silky cohesive dough.  (If you are using a different style mixer it probably will take you much less time).   Place the dough in a slightly oiled bowl and do a couple of stretch and folds.  Cover the bowl and let it rest for 10-15 minutes in your proofer or warm place set to 80 F  (if you are using a cooler temperature your total 1st bench bulk fermentation would be between 2-2.5 hours.  Do another stretch and fold in the bowl and let it rest another 10-15 minutes.  Do another stretch and fold and let the dough sit out in the covered bowl for a total of 1.5  hours in your proofer..  Place the dough in the refrigerator until ready to bake the next day.

When ready to bake take the dough out and leave it covered in your bowl for 1 hour at around 80F.  Next divide the dough into pieces that are 110 grams each or 135 grams for larger rolls .  Shape as rolls and place on a baking sheet and cover with either a moist towel or plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray.  Let it rest for around 1.5 hours in a warm place to about 3/4 proof.  I put a small cup of water in my microwave and heat it for a couple of minutes, remove it and then place the sheets of rolls inside to rest.

While the rolls are proofing, fill a large stock pot with 2 liters of cold water.  Measure out the Lye and slowly add it to the cold water.  (DO NOT EVER ADD LYE TO HOT WATER).  Cover the pot and bring it to a rolling boil and then shut off the heat.

Pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.  When the rolls are proofed sufficiently, prepare to dip them for about 15 seconds in the lye bath upside down.  Let them drain on a bakers rack over a cookie tray covered with a towel or parchment paper.  After draining for a minute you can transfer them to a cookie/baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  You want to use a stainless steel cooking sheet as aluminum may react with the lye and peel.  I use Silpat mats on my cookie sheets sprayed with some cooking spray and do not bother to drain them on a bakers rack any longer.

Note: do not ever use parchment paper as the rolls will get stuck to the bottom.  I know this from experience and I had to cut off the bottoms of half the rolls I made.

When ready to bake, score each roll with an “X” on the middle and sprinkle with pretzel salt for authentic style pretzel rolls or use pie cutters or anything your heart desires.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown and register about 200 F in the middle.  Let them cool on a bakers rack until you can’t wait any longer!

Note: If using pretzel salt you cannot store these in a plastic bag or covered really otherwise the salt will react with the moisture in the air and you will end up with soggy tops.  I place them in a paper bag and leave it open so the air circulates.





Benito's picture

Ian these are so inviting.  The scoring is very inventive and attractive.  I have yet to play with lye, so thank you for your warnings on its use.  I’m sure these were delicious and probably gone by now.


Isand66's picture

I put the warning in there always but honestly I only wear some medical gloves and don’t really worry too much.  It’s a very weak solution so you’re pretty much have to drink it or pour it in your eyes to cause any serious issues.  I appreciate your comments as always.  I was real happy with how this new version came out with such a high % of fresh milled flour.

Best regards,


semolina_man's picture

Well done.  How do you use these rolls?  Breakfast? Dinner?  Sandwiches? 

Isand66's picture

I freeze most of them so I can just pop one in the microwave for 30 seconds and then warm or toast them.  They are great for breakfast with some butter or cheese and perfect for a sandwich for lunch.  They make great dinner rolls as well.  Give them a try and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed 😆

Another Girl's picture
Another Girl

Hi Ian. These are great to look at and, I'm sure, even better to eat. You use durum in some interesting and unexpected ways, and it always sounds terrific. These are a great inspiration to finally buy some food grade lye and give pretzel baking a try.  –AG

Isand66's picture

Please try them.  You won’t be disappointed and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Best regards